Kanye West

MF Doom Documentary

Despite the fact that recording studios and record labels have long served to showcase a variety of musical talents, recent music documentaries on such subjects have framed their histories in largely genre-specific terms. Though Rick Springfield was one the studio’s biggest names, Dave Grohl’s Sound City was steadfast in its thesis that L.A.’s Sound City was the home of uncompromising, authentic rock. Danny O’Connor’s Upside Down similarly saw Creation Records’ promotion of both punk and New Wave as fitting a consistent definition of British rebellion. Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton, Jeff Broadway’s history of Los Angeles-based Stones Throw Records, refuses to make a false, simplified equivalence between label and genre. The documentary instead makes the case that a good label produces interesting work and develops talented, envelope-pushing artists by encouraging creative change and throwing caution to the wind. Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton decisively rejects genre borders by arguing that Stones Throw accomplished the same. The end result isn’t always convincing, but it’s an engaging and ambitious documentary that laudably seeks original ways of stylizing movies about music. READ MORE AT NONFICS

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If, five or six years ago, you were to pose the question, “hey, wouldn’t it be great if Bret Easton Ellis and Kanye West were to make a movie together?” you’d probably be gawked at like a crazy person. Today, if you were to do the same, you’d probably be gawked at like a crazy person. But at least you’d have the facts on your side. Because Kanye West and Bret Easton Ellis are working on some kind of film collaboration. Unfortunately, that’s all we really know for now — it’s a project that will involve the visual medium of film, and will merge the minds of West and Ellis. Pesky details like “story” and “if West will be starring, directing, or just using his likeness as the film’s grand inspiration” are being kept extremely hush-hush. But when pressed about the project in a Vice interview, Ellis could at least admit this: “It’s in Kanye Land, and that’s subject to a whole other time frame. He came and asked me to write the film. I didn’t want to at first. Then I listened to Yeezus. It was early summer last year and I was driving in my car. He’d given me an advance copy, and I thought, regardless of whether I’m right for this project, I want to work with whoever made this. So fuck it, I said yes. And that’s how it happened. That was seven or eight months ago. We’ll see what happens.”

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Culture Warrior

The music video is in terminal condition, if not certainly dead. MTV hasn’t been associated with music for a long time, and nobody invests real money in the format that formerly revolutionized the relationship between audiences and musicians. The music video had a great run, introducing us to visionary directors and creating profound visual iconography whose power was unmatched by album covers and promotional materials, but beyond the occasional breakout video that circulates on YouTube, it’s time to say goodbye to the format that brought us everything from “Billy Jean” to “Frontier Psychiatrist.” In the past few years a new music/video hybrid has become increasingly prevalent. The “visual album” (as coined by Animal Collective) continues to emerge as a means of creative visual expression and (often) as a form of cross-promotion for an album. Unlike music videos, visual albums stage, sometimes with interruptions, the majority of a musician or band’s LP. Even though this format seems designed to exist exclusively through web distribution (visual albums can occasionally be too long, interconnected, and narratively or stylistically cohesive to be parsed out as standalone shorts or individuated music videos, but aren’t long enough to be feature films), the visual album is also a risky declaration in the age of iTunes, proclaiming albums to be cohesive works of musical artistry rather than conveniently divisible bits of audio information.

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Noomi Rapace in Prometheus

What is Movie News After Dark? If you have to ask, then maybe it’s not for you. We begin this evening with a shot of Noomi Rapace in Prometheus. The former Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is going interstellar for director Ridley Scott, whose return to big sci-fi has made my own 5 most anticipated of 2012 short list when I delivered such picks on this week’s Reject Radio. It seems a fitting start to the final News After Dark of the week.

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The Daily Grind: The News We Missed

We never get around to covering everything that happens around the ole’ movie web. With that in mind, we would like to introduce our new daily feature, The Daily Grind, our daily homage to laziness in journalism.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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